Lech Majewski  

Experimental Polish artist that makes a variety of movies, often involving striking, symbolic or surreal imagery. His movies are generally too eclectic, and constantly experimental, however, to allow any categorization beyond this. Recurrent themes include artistic visual tableaux, spiritualism, ritualistic symbolism underlying society, and poetic visual metaphors for various aspects of civilization and life.

Of Some Interest

A comical, artistic, absurd and surreal portrait of a cult/communal culture in historical Silesia of the 20th Century. This group of locals paint, study esoteric books, practice alchemy, nurture their various eccentric habits involving light, sex or guns, maintain various spiritual beliefs, and follow the teachings of their leader who prophesied the world war. When they discover that a ray of light from Saturn will destroy the world, they search for Angelus, a pure naked lad who will sacrifice himself to save the world. Visually and colorfully astonishing, with a recurring visual theme of angels as guardians, guides or live statues, and with frequently odd, cartoonish humor. A unique experience, but I'm not quite sure what to do with this one.

Glass Lips (AKA Blood of a Poet)  
Artsy, surreal vignettes with a poetic, artistic eye and a slight sense of humor, exploring the mind of man in an insane asylum seemingly brooding over memories of childhood and parents. In this mindset, man is born on desolate mountains while his mother gives birth to a rock, the father finds humiliating punishments as he grows more rebellious and wild, shoelaces are tied around his body instead of his shoes, there are Freudian undertones and symbolism concerning the mother, many scenes and allusions involving martyrdom, women as pretty objects with exposed genitals being fondled in a forest or as meat in a freezer, all cut with oddly amusing scenes from the asylum, the adult life of a man/father living like a dog, his sex life, his career, all blended surrealistically with the symbols of childhood. Themes involve man's existential absurdities, parenthood, abuse, the obscure object of womanhood, all reaching an enigmatic conclusion. A somewhat interesting, amusing, dialogue-free, and visually hypnotic art-piece, but too enigmatic or abstract to build-up satisfaction.

Gospel According to Harry  
Primitive man sows the seeds of civilization in the desert and lo and behold, telegraph poles and TVs spring out of the sand. A modern couple is now living in the sand with all their material possessions (but no walls or floors). A bomb goes off while they have sex, their friend commits murder, the president arrives for a speech with his entourage, primitive man attacks the president but is crucified, and a man sprays chemicals on their food, but all this is unimportant in their daily boring and complacent lives, secondary to their crumbling marriage problems, everyone trying to ignore all the sand around them. A very amusing, simple, and visually striking allegory on modern civilization presented as a series of vignettes.

Knight, The  
Majewski's first is a medieval fable about a knight who grows disenchanted with his king's attitude and goes on a quest to find a magical harp that will bring harmony to the world. In this quest he encounters a princess, bandits, both hypocritical and saintly monks, and participates in a strange ritual, dance and orgy in a desert. The focus is mostly on poetic dialogue and imagery however, with striking, occasionally surreal images of battling knights, a king's court, fools, castles, monks, maidens, forests, medieval dances, etc.

Another meditative film-essay by Majewski full of striking tableaux and surreal imagery, this one on the theme of death, hell and tragedy in this world. The camera follows a scarred young man who is the sole survivor of an accident that took his girl and friends. He frequently gets tired and has to sleep in public places, bringing on a wide variety of dreams and visions: His girl dead in a church with an angel, high society gathers in the forest, he interacts with dead people, especially in the supermarket where he works, a flood of water washes through a church, a TV game-show girl in a bikini appears in his living room, and in the most striking vision: his dead father ploughs a supermarket with oxen. His personal tragedy combines with one national catastrophe after another that he watches on the news, he explores the hellish world of Dante, and his aunt tries to console him with both loving care and Stoic philosophy.

Valley of the Gods  
Another somewhat cryptic, highly visual metaphor on civilization and humanity, this one intertwining three mostly mythical stories: A writer with wife-related and existential troubles goes to the Valley of the Gods with only his desk, after trying a series of completely insane irrational actions based on his shrink's advice. The richest man in the world lives in a mythical, impossibly high castle like a pharaoh, sometimes sneaking into society, buying Navajo land, or forcing society to face its troubles. He also takes part in very peculiar hobbies, like flinging cars off a cliff. The third story involves Native American lore ritual and magic, and the creation of a very heavy strange baby after a session of love-making with a sandstone cave (!). And much more. It all intertwines to create a somewhat cryptic and visually rich metaphor. Unfortunately, the message seems to be a cliched one about white man's civilization causing misery, absurdly excessive waste and exploitation versus nature and tribal magic coming back for revenge. But the visuals and strangeness will linger.


Roe's Room, The  
Ultimately pretentious operatic musical about various aspects of a family unit with the various forces in it represented as natural symbols. Family life is explored through four seasons, with plants growing through walls, fountains coming out of dinner tables, weeds growing in the house, deer eating grass, the son attempting to eat grass, sex, mundane household chores or activities, a paternal influence, a maternal presence, etc. All this is shown with slowly moving artsy visuals while the opera sings about what we see. For fans of movies like Cremaster only.

1999- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents